football

No Pass, No Problem

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Whether (L to R) against Cincinnati in 1976 (or a few other games that season), Notre Dame in the 1981 Sugar Bowl, Tennessee in 1988, or South Carolina yesterday, among many others, Georgia has a history of routinely winning when hardly passing.

By Patrick GarbinTwitter @PGarbin

Pat’s Weekly Stat (you likely won’t see anywhere else): One statistic that jumps out at me from Georgia’s 28-14 win at South Carolina is the Bulldogs’ passing—or, lack thereof. Entering the contest averaging nearly 200 yards passing per game, they were limited to 29 yards through the air—all via Jacob Eason—on just 5 of 17 passing. Yet, a team which hardly passes often signifies that, simply, it didn’t need to, like yesterday, when its running game was dominant, and defense held its own.

Going back to the beginning of the Mark Richt head-coaching era, Georgia is now a perfect 6-0 when it passes for less than 100 yards, and 8-2 over the last 25 years. I decided to go back even further, like to 1964 and the start of head coach Vince Dooley and his three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust philosophy (and, essentially, only passing the ball when forced to).

For the Bulldogs over the last 50+ seasons, I discovered that passing for few yards is preferable when considering the end result:

Head Coach (Seasons) Record when passing for 100+ yards (Win Pct.) Record when passing for less than 100 yards (Win Pct.)

Vince Dooley (1964-1988)

100-44-7 (.685)

101-33-3 (.748)

Ray Goff (1989-1995)

43-29-1 (.596)

3-5 (.375)

Jim Donnan (1996-2000)

39-18 (.684)

1-1 (.500)

Mark Richt (2001-2015)

140-51 (.733)

5-0 (1.000)

Kirby Smart (2016)

3-2 (.600)

1-0 (1.000)

TOTAL

325-144-8 (.690)

111-39-3 (.735)

But, beyond a few, what about passing for hardly any yards, like yesterday?

Georgia’s 29 passing yards against the Gamecocks was its fewest since throwing for 28 yards in a 33-10 loss at Auburn in 1990, and the Bulldogs’ fewest resulting in a victory since Wayne Johnson and Greg Talley completed 7 of 10 passes in a 28-17 victory over Tennessee in 1988, but for only 25 yards.

Georgia’s 29 passing yards against the ‘Cocks might seemingly be hardly any, yet the mark surprisingly ranks tied for the 26th-fewest by the Bulldogs since 1964. Notably, Georgia has a respectable 20-8 record when passing for less than 30 yards in a game.

The following are the top-10 fewest passing outputs by Georgia, most of which were coupled with a high rushing output, and evidently, based on the points the Bulldogs allowed, included a good defensive showing. But, nearly every one of them had in common the most important statistic of them all—the end result:

Georgia's Top-10 Fewest Passing Games since 1964
Passing Yards Opponent, Season Georgia's Pass Att—Comp.—Int. Georgia's Rushing Yards Georgia's Result

0

Florida, 1964

2-0-1

155

Won, 14-7

0

Auburn, 1976

3-0-2

470

Won, 28-0

0

Georgia Tech, 1974*

7-0-2

235

Lost, 14-34

7

Vanderbilt, 1975

8-2-1

297

Won, 47-3

7

Ole Miss, 1977

3-2-0

220

Won, 14-13

7

Notre Dame, 1980**

13-1-0

120

Won, 17-10

10

Auburn, 1975

5-1-1

400

Won, 28-13

10

Cincinnati, 1976

7-2-0

250

Won, 31-17

11

Vanderbilt, 1964

8-1-0

139

Won, 7-0

11

Vanderbilt, 1976***

6-1-0

366

Won, 45-0

* Notably, while Georgia completed no passes, Tech completed its one attempt for six yards. ** 1981 Sugar Bowl. *** Georgia's one completion for 11 yards was not by any of its three quarterbacks who played, but came via a halfback pass.
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